Sport Soccer

Saturday 25 March 2017

Grant earns share of spoils

Republic of Ireland 1
Russia 1

CIARA GRANT'S 59th-minute penalty helped the Republic of Ireland women's side to their best competitive result against a top-tier nation on Saturday, writes Stephen Finn.

Arsenal midfielder Grant fired home after Sonya Hughes' free-kick had been handled in the wall by Elena Danilova.

Russia equalised five minutes later when Anna Kozhnikova headed home from close range from a left-wing free-kick by Elena Morozov.

Interim boss Sue Ronan almost saw her side nick an 85th-minute winner when keeper Elvira Todua punched the ball towards her own net from an Aine O'Gorman cross but Oksana Shmachkova got back to clear.

While the Irish can not qualify for the World Cup finals, this result guarantees them a respectable third place spot in their qualifying group.

They play their final qualifier against Israel at the Carlisle Grounds in Bray on Wednesday.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND -- Byrne; SM McDonnell, MT McDonnell, Fahey, Tracy, Hughes, Grant, De Burca, Smyth (Russell 73), O'Gorman, O'Sullivan (Roche 81).

RUSSIA -- Todua; Kozhnikova, Sochneva, Skotnikova, Shmachkova, Danilova (Tsydikova 63), Rogova, Semenchenko, Pertseva, Mokshanova (Kurochkina 46), Morozova.

Ref -- C Dordoman (Romania) .

Irish Independent

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